Judging Java: Pistachio Latte

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

Starbucks Coffee constantly introduces limited-time themed drinks, as a means of marketing. This “fear of missing out” style drink first began with the Pumpkin Spice Latte in the early 2000s, and the success of that drink led to them introducing more and more, for example, their annual Holiday lineup of drinks. Now, they’ve done it again, but this time in a slightly more unnecessary way.

The Pistachio Latte is entirely unnecessary to my life, and I will never drink one again. That’s not to say that it is a bad drink, or not worth trying, but I personally just am not a fan of how the pistachio flavoring mixes with coffee. When I first tasted the drink, the only thing I had to say was an iconic Arrested Development line: “I don’t know what I expected.”

It is exactly as advertised: a pistachio-flavored latte. If that sounds like something that you think you would like, then give it a try. If you hate the taste of pistachio, don’t try it. It is as simple as that.

The drink ultimately suffers from something that many Starbucks drinks suffer from – the flavoring. Specifically, the flavor of syrup pools at the bottom of the drink.  Because of this, when you take your last sip you are left with a mouthful of just the flavoring. When drinking a mocha or pumpkin spice latte, this is a frustrating but passable sip. When drinking a pistachio latte, it is one of the most disgusting things that you will ever taste.

Again, I think that the actual latte itself is pretty good. It is nothing mind-blowing, but it is an adequate cup of coffee. The syrup, however, is awful. I really cannot overstate how unappealing the last sip of the drink was, and it was definitely that which solidified my decision to never drink one again.

I have been very harsh on a lot of coffee, but I’d like to draw a distinction between the disgustingness of this drink and others. When I describe a 7-11 coffee as being disgusting, that is on the merits of it being a cup of coffee. It is a not-very-good cup of coffee, that filled me with a sense of mediocrity. 

When I say that the pistachio syrup is disgusting I mean that it is seriously one of the worst things that I have ever tasted, and the pain of the taste lingered in my mouth for quite some time. I immediately regretted sipping it and decided that I would have been better off stopping drinking the coffee much earlier.

In short, try the pistachio latte, but don’t finish it.